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Suffering in Fellowship or

Fellowship in Suffering

"To follow Christ is to keep self crucified through every walk of life as Jesus did, in total and complete submission, wherever that path may lead." Frank Phillips

These are my own notes and are not a word-for-word transcript of the message. However, by listening multiple times to the sermon and filling in what was missed previously, I have attempted to get as close as I can to what was shared. Quotations have, in many cases, been expanded to the sentences around what the speaker quoted to enable the reader to gain the full impact of what was shared in the sermon. Where the speaker referred to quotations without giving a reference, I have attempted to find the quotation that most closely reflects what was being shared. - © Cheryl Hosford


The cross of Christ was not a wooden structure, but was the most extremely difficult task that Jesus could subject Himself to of keeping His natural nature veiled. When he invites us to take up our cross, it is to keep our natural and sinful nature buried and dead. We will study this in greater depth in another sermon. This is the essence of Biblical teaching.

Philippians 3:7-15

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Verse 1-6, Paul has quite a list of attainments and qualifications which were very, very precious especially to the Jews. He says "I count them all a loss - a total loss." In verse 8, he re-emphasizes them - I count all things but loss for the excellency - not only those things that were aquired, but those things that he inherited, those things that came to him from any source - he counted them all a loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus.

Jesus was really precious to Paul. He was willing to count everything but loss if he could have Jesus. The real question is, "Is He really, really that precious to me?" That is the real question that we have to address ourselves to.

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

v. 9 - Faith of Christ - Contrary to what we often think, this is the faith of Christ in me - It is not my faith in Christ - but rather Christ's faith in me. When we realize that it is His faith, it takes a great burden off our hearts. Because there is always the tendency to say, "If I had the faith of brother Jones, or sister Smith, or someone else." We need to realize that faith is not quantitative. We don't start with an unknown quantity of faith and then it grows. Faith is qualitative. It is given to us in a specific amount and it grows in quality - not in quantity.

Righteousness... through the faith of Christ - not my own righteousness (which is of the law) - but it is righteousness through the faith of Christ - that is the most precious gift that God could give to us - which is through faith.

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Power of his resurrection - this is not the physical resurrection of our bodies when Christ comes, but rather the crucifixion death of our natural, sinful selves and the resurrection of ourselves into the new life in Christ.

Now, Paul in deep appreciation says, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." - Somehow these words are read over and over again and the deep significance of what is in them is scarcely comprehended at all. Paul here in talking about the resurrection is not talking about the resurrection of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15 where the trump sounds and the dead are raised This is not what Paul is talking about. Paul is talking about the experience dying to self - of dying to this old nature and becoming a new man. This is the resurrection that Paul is deeply concerned with.

The fellowship of His sufferings - Being made conformable unto his death - Before we can understand the sufferings of Jesus, we must be made conformable to His death -in other words, we must share in that death experience. "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof." This experience opens our eyes and opens us to a sense of the sufferings of Christ.

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

v. 11- If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. - We are not talking about the resurrection of the dead from death itself (as in 1 Corinthians 15), but the resurrection from the death of self. This is an experience that must be real in the individual's life.

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Apprehended - means something different now than it did when the King James version was written. It now means to take hold of. But it then it meant "to understand" - Paul was saying, my understanding is growing - it isn't a complete understanding. We will grow in our understanding throughout all eternity.

Paul was totally and completely against God, when God reached down and turned him around. "I don't understand it," he says. "Me, I was totally and completely against Jesus. I thought it was my obligation to do everything I could do against Him. And inspite of this, He reached down on the road to Damascas and changed me." Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose you? You look at your past record and say, "How could God have seen anything in me?" I have done that many times. But then, with Paul, I go on to verse 13.

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

V. 14 - Prize - Christ in you, the hope of glory - What is the prize? So often we think that the prize is heaven. But for the born-again Christian, heaven is here on earth. That is why Ellen White says that the first day in heaven is not going to be any different than the last day on earth. That is what the Joy of the Lord really is. That is why Paul says I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. What is that prize? Christ in you, the hope of glory - that is the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

"If in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you" - That's the real joy - the high calling - it's Christ in You. If you have any other goal, it is not adequate. Heaven itself is not able to be a strong enough motivation for individuals to change or modify their lives. There is no way. There is only one goal - Christ in you, the hope of Glory. There is no other goal that is worthy of such a wonderful, wonderful end.

That's why Ellen White wrote, The Christian life is a battle and a march. You have heard this before. Oh how we drill this. We think we have to battle our way through life, and some people do. We have scars to show for it. The battle and the march is misunderstood, because she follows that the victory to be gained is not won by human power.

Thoughts from Mount of Blessing, p. 141

The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The battle which we have to fight--the greatest battle that was ever fought by man--is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love. The old nature, born of blood and of the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up.
He who determines to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of an unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Selfishness and pride will make a stand against anything that would show them to be sinful. We cannot, of ourselves, conquer the evil desires and habits that strive for the mastery. We cannot overcome the mighty foe who holds us in his thrall. God alone can give us the victory. He desires us to have the mastery over ourselves, our own will and ways. But He cannot work in us without our consent and co-operation. The divine Spirit works through the faculties and powers given to man. Our energies are required to co-operate with God.
The victory is not won without much earnest prayer, without the humbling of self at every step. Our will is not to be forced into co-operation with divine agencies, but it must be voluntarily submitted. Were it possible to force upon you with a hundredfold greater intensity the influence of the Spirit of God, it would not make you a Christian, a fit subject for heaven. The stronghold of Satan would not be broken. The will must be placed on the side of God's will. You are not able, of yourself, to bring your purposes and desires and inclinations into submission to the will of God; but if you are "willing to be made willing," God will accomplish the work for you, even "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5. Then you will "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12, 13.


The greatest battle that was ever fought by man--is the surrender of self to the will of God.

Many think that they must go to battle on their own - and they have the battle scars to show for it. But she says, " the victory to be gained is not won by human power." The battle and the march is something different than what we think. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The heart and mind are synomous terms in the Scriptures and the writings of Ellen White. Think of them together. The domain of the mind or the heart is the battle ground. Christ is constantly seeking control of your mind. Satan is also seeking control of your mind. We will deal with this more in another sermon.

The greatest battle that was ever fought by man--is the surrender of self to the will of God. The surrender of self to the will of God - that is the most difficult battle ever fought - the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love. We are not used to this. The human mind actually rebels at this type of experience. The old nature, born of blood and of the will of the flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God.


The old human nature cannot be modified. The only thing it is good for is to be dead and buried, and until we realize this, we are fighting a losing battle. The hereditary tendencies, the former habits must be given up, surrendered.

This is the basis of Biblical teaching.This old human nature cannot be modified. You can't make it over. God can't make it over. We can't do anything with it. It is only fit for one thing - the grave. That is the only thing it is fit for. God is waiting for us to see this. When we see it, we then enter into the battle of surrender. The only thing it is good for is to be dead and buried, and until we realize this, we are fighting a losing battle. The hereditary tendencies, the former habits must be given up, surrendered. There is no other way. You can dodge it, you can do anything you want, but you keep coming back to this every time.


Man was created God-centered. Satan successfully changed his God-centered-ness to Self-centered-ness.

Satan succeeded in his plan to tempt man. Man was created God-centered. Satan successfully changed his God-centered-ness to Self-centered-ness. This has been his basis of operation ever since. That is the only thing he is concerned with. As we said before, we emphasize again, he doesn't care in the slightest bit what our profession is - you may be a minister or a teacher, a truck driver or a what-not. It doesn't matter. All he wants to do is to make us a self-centered individual, and that is enough to keep us in his camp.

We must see sin for what it truely is, and see ourselves for what we truely are. That is why Ellen White says that man must see his own nothingness. (It isn't hard to see my weakness, failures, sins, and mistakes, but to see our nothingness is much harder.) Someone said, "Self would rather be thought evil of than not to be thought of at all." That is true. Self will stay alive if there is any way. If there is a solitary speck of self left in us, it will finally take over. Therefore it must be crucified.


Self would rather be thought evil of than not to be thought of at all.

Self will stay alive if there is any way. If there is a solitary speck
of self left in us, it will finally take over. Therefore it must be crucified.

Satan has built his entire program on this one premise - of keeping self alive, even if we think it is a good self.

Ellen White makes a statement in Desire of Ages, that has a direct correllation with the Philippians 3:10, that we are talking about.

Philippians 3:10
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Desire of Ages, p. 225

God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon. "Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Phil. 1:29. And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.

Fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.

Fellowship in Suffering or Suffering in Fellowship. There is a vast difference. Jesus understood this well. Jesus suffering was vastly different than we think of. Automatically, when we think of the suffering of Jesus, we think of the calvary experience of Jesus - that that is where the sufferings of Jesus actually lay. But this is not what this verse or quote from Mrs. White is talking about.

1 Peter 4:1, 2
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

"Arm yourselves also with the same mind" - Christ's suffering had something to do with a mental process - not simply with the physical process of being crucified, or being abused along the way physically.

We are talking about a mental process. The last sermon talked about how difficult it was for Christ to keep His glory veiled. This was the severest test that Christ could put on Himself - to keep His divinity hidden from the sight of man.

In Desire of Ages, we read something that can help us to understand of the suffering of Jesus that began long, long before calvary.

Desire of Ages, p. 325, 326

What a support Christ would have found in His earthly relatives if they had believed in Him as one from heaven, and had co-operated with Him in doing the work of God! Their unbelief cast a shadow over the earthly life of Jesus. It was a part of the bitterness of that cup of woe which He drained for us.

If they had believed in Him as One from heaven, what a support His earthly relatives would have been. We humans long for people to understand us and share our suffering. Jesus was human - He longed for someone to understand Him, yet He "trod the wine press alone." He longed for someone to understand Him. Isn't that what we want? If you could only understand me, we cry. We so often think we are completely unique. We say, "No one has gone through what I am going through before. The experience I have, nobody has ever gone through. "

The Bible tells us that there is nothing new in the world. There is nothing that we have gone through that someone hasn't already gone through. What a support Christ would have felt if He had had the support from His earthly relatives and if they had cooperated with Him in doing the work of God. His earthly relatives "unbelief cast a shadow over the earthly life of Jesus. It was a part of the bitterness of that cup of woe which He drained for us." Yes, He trod the winepress alone?

How much was Jesus alone? This has stirred my heart time and time again as I have gone in depth into this study. We learn from Desire of Ages that even before He came to earth while still in heaven, He saw it all.

Desire of Ages, p. 410

The work of Christ on earth was hastening to a close. Before Him, in vivid outline, lay the scenes whither His feet were tending. Even before He took humanity upon Him, He saw the whole length of the path He must travel in order to save that which was lost. Every pang that rent His heart, every insult that was heaped upon His head, every privation that He was called to endure, was open to His view before He laid aside His crown and royal robe, and stepped down from the throne, to clothe His divinity with humanity. The path from the manger to Calvary was all before His eyes. He knew the anguish that would come upon Him. He knew it all, and yet He said, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart."

Every solitary thing - when they spat on Him, when they platted a crown of thorns on His head, when they tried to push Him off the cliff, when they spat on Him, the rejection of His people, His betrayal, the actual denial of Peter, His own disciples as they left Him - every solitary thing was open to His view. All of this was open to His view - before He laid down His crown and royal robe and stepped down from the throne to clothe His divinity with humanity. The pathway from the manger to calvary was open to His eyes. I don't understand why He loved us so much that He could have stepped down to that kind of a pathway. Do you? He knew it all before He came - yet He came. There is no one else on the face of this earth who would have stepped in that kind of a pathway.

We should take the life of Jesus, as Jesus tells us to do through the pen of Ellen White, and study it for a thoughtful hour everyday - especially the closing scenes.

It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of his earthly life. Gospel Workers, p. 246

I take that as the last week of Jesus life. We say that we don't have that kind of time. But we need to make that kind of time, because it is profitable for us. A thoughtful hour each day studying especially the closing scenes. I take that to mean the last week of Christ's life. If we could actually take that kind of time for a month, we would come up with some of the most startling facts that we could hardly imagine.

For during that last week of Christ's life, some of the most significant truths are revealed to us. Jesus came into Jerusalem. He had a wonderful, marvelous reception there. The crowds thronged eagerly and anxiously and wanted to crown Him. They strewed His pathway with palm branches to help Him to be crowned King of Israel and cried "Hosannah to the Son of David." They made the very hilltops ring with their voices. The priests came out and asked, "Can't You quiet this mob?" and Jesus answered "If they should hold their peace, the very rocks should cry out." This was a necessity.

Ellen White tells us that Jesus deliberately was doing this to make sure that His crucifixion would be made sure. He was perpetrating His own death by doing this. (See Desire of Ages, p. 571) Years before, when Jesus was in Jerusalem, He had to leave, because the pharisees and priests were planning to take His life the first night that they could catch Him in Jerusalem. That's why He did not stay there. He spent His time there in Galilee and Samaria, and came down to Jerusalem for the feast days, and then slipped away.

When this triumphal entry was made, Sunday night, Jesus left again and went to Bethany. Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, - each night He left again. Thursday night was the first night He stayed in Jerusalem, and that was the night they took Him. So true to their word, they took Him the first night He was in Jerusalem. Jesus knew this.

We go past the Thursday night experience to very early Friday morning. Jesus was taken from the garden experience before Annas. Why? Annas was an older man - hardened, stubborn. He would not be moved by emotion. They knew that he would condemn Jesus, and that if Annas condemned Him, Caiphas could hardly keep from condemning Him. After Caiphas, they had to wait until the morning hours to take Him to Pilate. Pilate tried nearly every way He could to deliver Him. He finally sent Him to Herod in an attempt to save Him. It was there before Herod that He was again faced with the same temptation that had been harrassing Him that was His cross all His life - from the cradle to the grave - it was then thrown to Him in violent force. For then it was that Herod sent His soldiers to go out and gather all the crippled, the maimed, the halt and the blind. They filled the whole court. Then he said to Jesus, "I've been waiting to see You. I've never seen You before. I've heard about You. Now if you are really who You say You are, heal these people."

Amazing as it might seem, Ellen White says that He stood there as though He heard Him not. I don't understand it, do you? It enraged Herod. They put the purple robe around Him and mocked Him. They blindfolded Him and smote Him, saying "Prophesy - who was it that smote You?" Do you see Satan's temptation? "If You are who You say You are, prove it!" That's why Ellen White says that was one of the most severe temptations for Jesus - to actually reveal who He was." Satan tempted Christ above what you and I will ever know.

He was condemned back before Pilate, and out through the city they went, and as they went, a mob followed them. That mob was led by Satan.

Desire of Ages, p. 734

Satan led the cruel mob in its abuse of the Saviour. It was his purpose to provoke Him to retaliation if possible, or to drive Him to perform a miracle to release Himself, and thus break up the plan of salvation. One stain upon His human life, one failure of His humanity to endure the terrible test, and the Lamb of God would have been an imperfect offering, and the redemption of man a failure. But He who by a command could bring the heavenly host to His aid--He who could have driven that mob in terror from His sight by the flashing forth of His divine majesty--submitted with perfect calmness to the coarsest insult and outrage.
Christ's enemies had demanded a miracle as evidence of His divinity. They had evidence far greater than any they had sought. As their cruelty degraded His torturers below humanity into the likeness of Satan, so did His meekness and patience exalt Jesus above humanity, and prove His kinship to God. His abasement was the pledge of His exaltation. The blood drops of agony that from His wounded temples flowed down His face and beard were the pledge of His anointing with "the oil of gladness" (Heb. 1:9.) as our great high priest.
Satan's rage was great as he saw that all the abuse inflicted upon the Saviour had not forced the least murmur from His lips. Although He had taken upon Him the nature of man, He was sustained by a godlike fortitude, and departed in no particular from the will of His Father.

What do we know of retaliation? It's such a natural thing in the human life. To just retaliate. But not even by thought could they get Jesus to retaliate.

It was his purpose to provoke Him to retaliation if possible, or to drive Him to perform a miracle to release Himself, and thus break up the plan of salvation.


Satan's temptations to Christ were not to get Him to do things that were necessarily "bad," but to do things that would break up the plan of salvation.

Satan's temptations to Christ were not to get Him to do things that were necessarily "bad," but to do things that would break up the plan of salvation. To fail to endure the terrible test, the Lamb of God would have been an imperfect offering, and the redemption of man would have been a failure.

The mob is following Christ Jesus. Let's look at the mob itself.

Desire of Ages, p. 741

A vast multitude followed Jesus from the judgment hall to Calvary. The news of His condemnation had spread throughout Jerusalem, and people of all classes and all ranks flocked toward the place of crucifixion. The priests and rulers had been bound by a promise not to molest Christ's followers if He Himself were delivered to them, and the disciples and believers from the city and the surrounding region joined the throng that followed the Saviour.

He was delivered to them. The disciples and the believers from the city and surrounding region joined the mob. The disciples themselves were here, following Christ.

The cross of Barabbas was placed on the shoulders of Jesus. He carried it for a little way, and physically He could not carry it further. Not because Christ was a weakling, but He had undergone already more than human flesh could ever possibly go through. Furthermore He had gone without food or drink since the night before.

Emaciated and haggered, physical strength failed Him.

Desire of Ages, p. 742

The crowd that followed the Saviour saw His weak and staggering steps, but they manifested no compassion. They taunted and reviled Him because He could not carry the heavy cross. Again the burden was laid upon Him, and again He fell fainting to the ground. His persecutors saw that it was impossible for Him to carry His burden farther. They were puzzled to find anyone who would bear the humiliating load. The Jews themselves could not do this, because the defilement would prevent them from keeping the Passover. None even of the mob that followed Him would stoop to bear the cross.

Why didn't that husky fisherman, Peter, stop to take up the cross? Why didn't James, John? These were not weaklings. They were there. Why didn't they do it? Were they afraid? No they didn't need to be afraid because the priests were bound by a promise not to harm His disciples, and they were looking for someone to do the job.

You say, "If I had been there, I would have done it." I doubt it. I don't think you would have done it. I don't think I would have done it. I don't think so. For you see, I believe that the church at that time was at the same place that a great portion of the church is today - trying to travel down the middle of the road. Not completely on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ, though loving Him. But certainly not on the devil's side.

We are actually in the same position that the bretheren were in 1888. In Minneapolis, in 1888, when God sent two people, Jones and Waggoner, to preach the message of Righteousness by Faith and justification, Ellen White made it clear that these men came with a message from God. She counseled them to listen, but writing later on the message in 1890, she said that "preconceived ideas stood at the root of the reason for the rejection of this message for that time."

Preconceived ideas - we are filled with them. We are filled with preconceived ideas and we are hardly ready to accept the message that God has for us today. The disciples walking along there in the crowd wanted to play it on the safe side. It's hard to think of it. They also had celebrated every Passover up to this time, even with Jesus. They certainly didn't want to miss this one if Jesus turned out not to be the Messiah. You say, "Could that have been in their minds? Did they not believe that Jesus was the Messiah? Follow me. Traveling the middle of the road gets us into lots of trouble. The Jews themselves would not touch the cross, because of the defilement that would keep them from celebrating the Passover. Could it be that these disciples had these preconceived ideas that caused them to eliminate the truth as it was in Christ Jesus? Could this actually be the same case in 1888 where the leadership there also had preconceived ideas, and would not accept the fact that righteousness comes by faith, and faith alone. Let me read something to you.

Desire of Ages, p. 743

Of the multitude that followed the Saviour to Calvary, many had attended Him with joyful hosannas and the waving of palm branches as He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. But not a few who had then shouted His praise, because it was popular to do so, now swelled the cry of "Crucify Him, crucify Him." When Christ rode into Jerusalem, the hopes of the disciples had been raised to the highest pitch. They had pressed close about their Master, feeling that it was a high honor to be connected with Him. Now in His humiliation they followed Him at a distance. They were filled with grief, and bowed down with disappointed hopes. How were the words of Jesus verified: "All ye shall be offended because of Me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad." Matt. 26:31.

These people had, just four days earlier been singing His praises, and now they are the ones shouting "Crucify Him." The disciples hopes had been raised to the highest pitch. If you follow the experience, you find the disciples were there crowding around Jesus on Monday morning, when He cast out all the priests and money-changers. The disciples thought, "This is great." Each one of them was hoping for the top seat, to be next to Jesus. Do you see where self was in their lives? Not dead by any means!

Everyday of that week, they get farther and farther and farther away from Him, until on Wednesday Jesus was left alone on the inner court. The disciples were in the outer court. The Greeks came and found Phillip and Andrew in the outer court. Ellen White says that Jesus was alone there in the temple, the disciples having nothing to do with Him - not that they didn't love Him, for they did. But they didn't believe in what He was doing. They thought He had ruined the whole thing. If He had just let us manage this, we could have had Him seated on the throne by now. They didn't like the way Jesus was working. Why?

They had no concept of the plan of Salvation at all. They didn't understand what Jesus was doing. "When Christ rode into Jerusalem, the hopes of the disciples had been raised to the highest pitch. They had pressed close about their Master, feeling that it was a high honor to be connected with Him. Now in His humiliation they followed Him at a distance. "

Desire of Ages, p. 744, we find something that goes a little deeper.

The mother of Jesus, supported by John the beloved disciple, had followed the steps of her Son to Calvary. She had seen Him fainting under the burden of the cross, and had longed to place a supporting hand beneath His wounded head, and to bathe that brow which had once been pillowed upon her bosom. But she was not permitted this mournful privilege. With the disciples she still cherished the hope that Jesus would manifest His power, and deliver Himself from His enemies.

Who do you suppose kept her from being able to help Jesus? I doubt it was the Roman soldiers. Most likely it was John, who was looking after her, and John said "Look, we don't want you to contaminate yourself either." He probably didn't tell her that in so many words, but the Passover was coming. "With the disciples she still cherished the hope that Jesus would manifest His power, and deliver Himself from His enemies." Whose idea was this? Satan's. Can you imagine? Whose ideas were the disciples really thinking like? Satan.

Can you understand when Ellen White says that Satan takes such control of our mind that in reality when we are thinking his thoughts, we are only thinking that we are thinking our own. They thought that this was the finest idea that could could ever be imagined. that if Jesus were to show His power and deliver Himself, they would have been right there to shout glory, hallelujah! What does this reveal to you?

Because the crowd went up to calvary, up Golgotha's hill, we are told that as the theives were bound to the cross, Mary looked on with agonizing suspense.

Again her heart would sink as she recalled the words in which He had foretold the very scenes that were then taking place. As the thieves were bound to the cross, she looked on with agonizing suspense. Would He who had given life to the dead suffer Himself to be crucified? Would the Son of God suffer Himself to be thus cruelly slain? Must she give up her faith that Jesus was the Messiah? Must she witness His shame and sorrow, without even the privilege of ministering to Him in His distress? She saw His hands stretched upon the cross; the hammer and the nails were brought, and as the spikes were driven through the tender flesh, the heart-stricken disciples bore away from the cruel scene the fainting form of the mother of Jesus.

Can you imagine? If Jesus were to be nailed on the cross, to Mary, it was significant evidence then that Jesus was not the Messiah. Can you imagine this? He trod the winepress alone, and of the people, there was none to help Him. (Isaiah 63:3 - "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me.")

We see this more and more as we get to the cross itself. First the rabble mob shouting to Him, "If you are the Christ, come down off the cross and we will believe." Probably the whole crowd of people shared the common belief that because Jesus didn't come down off the cross, it was perfect evidence that He was not the Messiah, and that He couldn't come down off the cross.


Naturally the thinking would be that no one would suffer pain if he could avoid it. Because Jesus didn't come down, then, to them, it was evidence that He couldn't come down.

If you and I had been there, we would have used that perfect rationale also. Naturally the thinking would be that no one would suffer pain if he could avoid it. That is perfectly rational thinking. But because Jesus didn't come down, then to them, it was evidence that He couldn't come down. Then the soldiers shouted the same thing. Then the priests came by and said "Let Him alone. We will see. He saved others, but Himself He cannot save." If He comes down, then we will believe. They were taunting Him with truth that they didn't even know was truth. These were the religious leaders. They were the highest authority of religion in the land, and they, speaking truth, did not even recognize that it was truth.

He saved others, but Himself He cannot save. They had no idea that if He actually did come down off of the cross, salvation would never be possible for any of us. How blind can people be? So great was this agony that Jesus bore, that His physical pain was hardly felt. His mental pain was agony. For this reason: Jesus knew the plan of Satan. He knew that Satan's plan was built on keeping "self" alive. He knew that the disciples were infected with this disease. He was seeing it over and over and over again.

For long hours Jesus hung on that cross. The reviling and mockery from the crowd was pouring into His ears.

Desire of Ages, p. 750

For long hours of agony, reviling and mockery have fallen upon the ears of Jesus. As He hangs upon the cross, there floats up to Him still the sound of jeers and curses. With longing heart He has listened for some expression of faith from His disciples.

Jesus, amid all the cursing and mockery, has His ear tuned to one thing. Here are His closest friends, His loved ones. His ears are tuned to find one expression of faith from one of His disciples. But instead, He has heard only the mournful words, "We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel."

In other words, the disciples were simply saying, "We were deceived." He really isn't the Messiah. Can you imagine it? Can you now see why Jesus was truly alone? We have never been truly alone. Jesus and Jesus alone, suffered alone. That's what rung from His own lips, "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?" Everyone of the human beings, who had expressed love, (and they still loved him) now no longer believed that He was the Messiah.

That's not too far away from many of us. We love Him, with a humanistic love, but do not know Him as our Saviour. We look at Him as our "helper", but He has to be more than that. He has to be our Saviour. Totally, completely, our Saviour.

Jesus was hanging there, not even daring to call God "Father". Everytime previously when He had spoken to Him, it was "Father." Now, in His desparate, human nature, His human faith was wavering. He cried, "My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?"

In many who heard His disparing cry, hope left. If God had forsaken Him, what hope did they have? What could His followers trust. Almost unbelievable, but all had not been lost. I thank God for that.

7a Bible Commentary, p. 450

He "was in all points tempted like as we are." Satan stood ready to assail Him at every step, hurling at Him his fiercest temptations; yet He "did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." "He . . . suffered being tempted," suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness. But the prince of darkness found nothing in Him; not a single thought or feeling responded to temptation.--Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 422. {7ABC 450.8}

Desire of Ages, p. 756

Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Father's acceptance heretofore given Him. He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whom it had ever been His joy to obey. And as in submission He committed Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Father's favor was withdrawn. By faith, Christ was victor.

His mind went back to His baptism, and the voice spoke "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," and the voice which spoke at His transfiguration proclaiming Him as the Son of God. He heard the voice that sounded a few hours before in the outer court when the Greeks came, and Jesus said, "Father, glorify." and the voice came saying, "I have glorified You and will glorify You again." The Greeks heard the words and accepted Him as the Messiah while the rest said it thundered, or an angel spoke to Him.

But these three times, Jesus had heard the voice of God speak to Him, and He relied upon that. "He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whom it had ever been His joy to obey. And as in submission He committed Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Father's favor was withdrawn. By faith, Christ was victor. "


To follow Christ is to keep self crucified through every walk of life as Jesus did, in total and complete submission, wherever that path may lead.

By faith He was victor. This is what He meant when He said "Follow Me." That's why He prefaced those words with the two commandments. "If any man will come after Me, let Him deny Himself (crucify Himself ) , take up His cross (keeping self crucified through every walk of life as Jesus did) and then, follow Me. Follow Me in total and complete submission, wherever that path may lead.

Steps to Christ, p. 36

Those to whom He has forgiven most will love Him most, and will stand nearest to His throne to praise Him for His great love and infinite sacrifice. It is when we most fully comprehend the love of God that we best realize the sinfulness of sin. When we see the length of the chain that was let down for us, when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition.

"The heart is melted with tenderness and contrition." - That's the way our Heavenly Father works in our hearts with tenderness and contrition. Is there any wonder why Paul said, "Oh, I long to fellowship with Christ in His sufferings, in this one-ness." As we enter into this one-ness experience with Christ, we are going to find that all the powers of an unregenerate nature backed by all the powers of an enemy will be arrayed against us. If that's true, we can understand why the greatest battle that we will fight, and must fight, is the battle against self. Because the self-protective tendencies as we have seen that actually was in the hearts of the disciples, keeping them from that surrender, is keeping many Christians today from having that same experience.


As we enter into this one-ness experience with Christ, we are going to find that all the powers of an unregenerate nature backed by all the powers of an enemy will be arrayed against us.

God has not promised us a rose strewn pathway, but rather He has promised us peace, joy and happiness in following Him.

Would you like to say with Paul, "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. " Philippians 3:13, 14; "Christ in you, the hope of glory", Colossians 1:27 Not just to know Him - but Christ in you. If that is your goal, would you like to express it right now?


Our precious Heavenly Father,

We know that even though we have read of this experience from your humble servant, still we know that these words are inadequate to describe that which You really did suffer for us. Your cross was an experience that went through your entire lifetime. We know dear Lord that we cannot expect to be exempt from this ourselves. You have not promised us a rose strewn pathway, but rather you have promised us peace, joy and happiness in following You. We realize dear Lord, the suffering that Jesus had was because He looked around at those who He was trying to save and help, but they didn't even understand what He was trying to do. We don't understand this because we have never had this kind of experience. But while You were saving them, they had no concept of what You were doing. May we have our own eyes opened. May we see that that which occurs in our own lives - every experience that You permit to come across our pathway, is in truth one of Your instruments to guide us and direct us and to perfect in us that marvelous, wonderful character of Jesus Christ. Thank you for being with us. Thank you more than anything else for Jesus and His marvelous gift on Calvary. We stand here expressing our desire to reach the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, to die to self, to let Jesus live in us enthroned in our lives - not only now, but throughout all eternity. Bless us that this might be truly experienced in every solitary person here.

We pray in Jesus name, Amen